Sabarimala: Govt forms panel to recommend guidelines for devotees during mandala pilgrimage
Thiruvananthapuram: Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president N. Vasu said that the state government is moving ahead with the stance that devotees should be allowed to visit Sabarimala during the mandala pilgrimage season.
It has been decided to reduce the number of pilgrims and allow entry only through the virtual queue system, he added.
Addressing the media after the review meeting, he stated that a panel headed by chief secretary was formed to recommend guidelines which should be followed by the devotees in Sabarimala.
Each devotee will be allowed to visit the temple after confirming that he or she is not COVID positive. The review meeting also examined that conducting ‘Neyabhishekam’ in the traditional manner is no more possible in the present circumstances. Hence, an alternative method will be introduced.
Devotees will not be allowed to camp in the shrine. ‘Annadanam’ will be carried out in a limited manner. Instead of using common vessels, alternative facilities will be arranged for ‘Annadanam’, informed the TDB president.
The panel headed by the chief secretary includes health secretary, devaswom secretary, home secretary and DGP. The special panel has been asked to submit the report within a week.
The government is also examining the number of people who will be allowed to enter the temple per day. The panel has been asked to submit recommendations on allowing entry to devotees only through virtual queue and protocol to be followed.
The government will decide on allowing devotees in Sabarimala in the month of Thulam based on the panel’s report.
During the meeting held on Monday, the government also decided to complete the construction of Nilakkal-Pamba road within 45 days.
Sabarimala temple has been closed for devotees for the last 7 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Minister summoned a review meeting on Monday to discuss reopening the hill shrine for devotees in the coming Malayalam months of Thulam and Vrichikam.
It is learned that during the meeting, the Chief Minister took a stance favouring entry of devotees even if it was under strict restrictions. Meanwhile, the Health Minister asserted that devotees should not be allowed to visit the temple as COVID-19 situation is extremely critical in the state.